The new year usually brings lots of change for us all, and the European Union is no exception. In recognition of all the challenges which have been faced over the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU has declared 2022 the European Year of Youth.
The European Year of Youth has four main objectives: highlighting how the green and digital transitions offer opportunities for young people; helping young people to become active and engaged citizens; promoting opportunities available to young people; bringing a youth perspective to the Union’s policies.
What will this mean for young people in Ballinasloe? Working together with other EU institutions, Member States, civil society organisations, and young people, the European Commission will organise a number of activities throughout the year at European, national, regional, and local levels. The scope of activities will cover issues that mostly affect young people, following the priorities highlighted in the Youth Goals, such as equality and inclusion, sustainability, mental health and well-being, and quality employment.
Programmes such as ErasmusPlus and the European Solidarity Corp will have increased funding available and will provide support for those who wish to volunteer, study, complete an apprenticeship, or undertake a work placement or find a job in another country.
The European Youth Portal has easy access information and an interactive map of activities happening across Europe as well as a specific European Year of Youth page. Closer to home you can follow Europe Direct Ballinasloe, based at Ballinasloe Public Library, on Twitter and Facebook (@EDBallinasloe) to keep up to date with what is happening. You can also email your queries to email@example.com or call 091-509551.
It’s a great year to be a young European!
The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland has given the green light to go ahead with the setting up of a local Branch of the IWAI (River Suck Navigation Branch), which will raise the profile and represent the users of the local waterways.
With the Suck to Shannonbridge Navigational channel installed in the late 90s and operational for cruiser traffic in 1999 there has been a noticeable stagnation of user traffic to the towns two Marinas by both hire and owner craft in the last few seasons.
Many locals have been frustrated with lack of small craft slips and occasional boating access. The establishment an Inland Waterways Association Suck Branch maybe be good platform to address some of these deficiencies.
The IWAI is Irelands largest organisation of water users and the benefit of having a local branch is to unite all users of the river and foster a community that can help each other and encourage social activity on the Suck. The main objective is to get boat owners and people & tourists who hire boats to be made aware that the river and the town has loads to offer and it will be a highlight of any trip along the Shannon.
Graham Bartlett the man who is spearheading the new local branch set up states “We have a wonderful Marina in town and it’s very much under-utilised, an increase in traffic on the suck will increase visitors to the town and all its shops, bars, restaurants etc. Ballinasloe should be the hotspot to visit to go fishing, shopping, to dine out, and maybe have a few drinks.”
A local branch will also result in the likes of Boat Rallies and other activities such as walks, hikes, talks being arranged. The IWAI publishes and distributes a magazine 4 times a year in which each branch gets a page dedicated to reporting on local issues and promoting what’s on offer.
You don’t have to be a boat owner, or fishing permit holder to become a new member.
The branch hopes to get set up in the early part of the year. Bartlett added “I hope the formation of the local branch will have a good level of local membership. I would also like to see local businesses participating in the promotion as ultimately it will benefit them also.”
If anyone would like to be part of the project you can send a message to the Facebook page ‘River Suck Navigation Branch (IWAI) Start up’ to express your interest.
The preferred route corridor for the Athlone to Galway greenway is Red Route 5, with a spur to Ballinasloe town.
The route, which is 255km in total will go from Athlone, with the town being the first stop in the west and onwards then to Portumna, Gort, Kinvara to Galway. The decision follows an extensive public consultation process and many meetings with landowners. The spur will be circa 20km with the route tapping into an emerging cycling tourism market. The town was seen as an ideal section of the route as it has the added advantage of having an exit on the M6 motorway which allows for greater accessibility for all visitors.
Some negative reaction from North Galway and Suck Valley Way Communities greeted the early December announcement as well as some questioning as to the viability of a spur link for Cyclists who will have to pedal back the same 20 km having come for a visit to reconnect with their way marked Westerly Route.
Spurs are becoming more common in Greenway development – the Mullingar to Lough Owel and the Achill Spur to Mulranny just two that have been completed in recent years . The success of the spur lies in the attractiveness of what can be viewed on the spur and the quality of visitor offering the terminal point.
Work on the project should commence in 2024 and is it hoped that the cycleway will open to the public in 2025.
Senator Dolan welcomed the news “There is such excitement to know that Ballinasloe will be the first stop in the West for the Galway to Athlone Cycleway.” “We are at a criss-cross of motorways, waterways, railways, walkways and now the Cycleway,” she added. “This multi-million-euro investment into Ballinasloe will revitalise our region and make us a base in the West to join the Cycleway” she concluded.
Five route corridors will be published by the local project-based team and will be whittled down to one corridor by July. The emerging preferred route was according to Senator Dolan will come along by Athlone Castle through Roscommon along the Shannon down through Moore. “It will cross the Ballinasloe to Shannonbridge road beyond Clonfad church taking the Bord na Móna railway line across to Kylemore and join the Grand Canal towpaths at Kylemore then through Lismany, Clontuskert, Kellysgrove to Poolyboy to reach the Marina in Ballinasloe,” she explained.
Local TD Denis Naughten believes that the track should pass through Kellysgrove Bog, adjoining the town. “Plans are now underway to rehabilitate the Bog and I believe that this should be developed into a public park for the wider Ballinasloe area,” he explains. “Such a park, with the inclusion of the Greenway, would tie in with the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands Tourism brand which is promoting the region using a number of key tourism corridors,” said Naughten.
Cllr. Evelyn Parsons also commented on the matter “I believe the new Greenway must be routed along the canal, through Kellysgrove Bog where I am committed to the development of a public park. With a population of 6,700 people constrained within the town centre this highlights the need for a facility such as a public park, particularly with the current closure of the track at Dunlo. I have urged Galway County Council to engage with Bord na Mona at an early stage regarding the development of a park and trails,” she stated.
A lot of good drafting work on the five-year development plan has been led by Cllr Dr. Evelyn Parsons – with near-unanimous support from her Municipal Area colleagues over the past few months of special meetings.
Her motion carried for Poolboy Landfill to put in place a Remediation Plan and to get specifically named as a county policy objective. The Chief Executive committed to its remediation in full compliance with the High Court Order of 1999 in front of a full council and press twice during the week in response to her raising the motion. On the back of the motion, she seconded another insertion for Kilconnell Remediation which was put forward by Cllr Broderick.
She referenced her vision for a Heartland Park, in the old landfill, which will be explored in the context of the Local Area Plan rezoning - if the LAP boundary can be extended.
The councillor also proposed Kellysgrove had the potential to be a public park as it has Blue/Green Infrastructure and connects to Peatlands. This was adopted into the County Development Plan.
She proposed a successful specific policy objective to recognise Portiuncula Hospital’s importance within the county as the county’s second hospital to support its development. This received full support from all colleagues and was included.
The Councillor’s three Motions on Environmental Justice carried and will now be included in two chapters on Environment and Biodiversity.
Critically her motion carried on sludge management regional hub, in short, that Ballinasloe *will not* be considered a suitable location for a regional sludge centre due to its environmental sensitivities (SPC/ Callows, etc).
Finally, the Townparks inner relief road was inserted as a specifically named project under roads as a motion was carried and will now be in the CDP – which has a higher priority than the Local Area Plan.
The material alterations will still have to go on public display by end of February, and the plan should be adopted by May 2022.
Local man Aiden Sheridan will attempt to swim the length of the River Shannon in aid of the Irish Cancer Society and East Galway & Midlands Cancer Support. The 43-year-old Carpet fitter by trade will set off on his incredible voyage starting in Dowra Co. Cavan and onto his final destination in Curraghgour Co. Limerick, swimming a total of 245km in 14 days.
Aiden is the youngest son of Tommy & Eilish Sheridan who were prominent in various businesses in town prior their retirement. The motivation behind Aiden’s journey is that cancer has taken a devastating toll on his family. In 2015, his sister Jennifer was diagnosed with the illness and thankfully made a full recovery. In 2017, Aiden’s brother Mark sadly passed away shortly after being diagnosed with the disease.
‘In the couple of days leading up to when he passed away, he was slagging me because I had ran the 52 marathons in 52 weeks for my sister Jennifer the previous year,’ Aiden said. ‘He was slagging me saying: “You did that for her, what are you going to do for me now?”‘ he added.
Four years on and Aiden has decided to take on the challenge and his rigorous training regime has begun, he swims 2 hours at 6.30 am daily at this local hotel pool in Galway city where he lives. Aiden has set up an ‘iDonate’ fundraising page online and he is encouraging everyone to donate to the two worthy causes.
“I would encourage everyone to make a donation because, as my family knows, cancer can strike anyone at any time, and it is so important that as much funding as possible is put into trying to find a cure for this devastating disease and into helping those who provide vital services to cancer patients and their families”, he states. Support can also be shown by sharing the Facebook and Instagram pages, ‘Sheridan Swims the Shannon’.
The marathon voyage swim is scheduled to take place on July 15th this year,
Oliver Kelly - son of Mary Kelly and the late Liam Kelly Creagh, Ballinasloe has been very recently appointed new CEO of Kerry Group North America - with a company he has served with distinction since his graduation.
Kerry Group has announced that Oliver Kelly will lead its North America operations from the beginning of this year. In a statement, the company confirmed that Kelly will take over as president and CEO of the division from January 1, 2022. According to the statement, Oliver Kelly has held numerous commercial and management roles over the past 30 years.
A native of Ballinasloe in Co. Galway, he joined Kerry in 1991 after graduating from University College Dublin (UCD) with a degree in agricultural science. He moved to North America from Ireland in 2018 after leading the company’s strategic growth in the food service channel for the Europe region. Oliver Kelly.
Previously Oliver was Vice President of Global Accounts for Kerry Group’s Ingredients and Flavours, EMEA Division. Oliver has more than 20 years’ experience in the FMCG industry working across numerous areas of the food and beverage portfolio and high end customer relationship management and development.
In 1994 Oliver relocated and was promoted to Sales Manager for the Red Meat business in the United Kingdom a position which he held until 1997 when he transferred to the Ingredients and Flavours side of the business to take up the role of Sales Manager for the Bakery division.
During 1998 Oliver was again promoted and took on the role of Director of Sales – Bakery for the UK and Ireland, a position he held for two years. In 2000 Oliver’s leadership talents were again recognised as he was appointed as General Manager for the Sweet and Cereal business. During his time in the role Oliver worked with many well-known names and brands to increase and enhance their relationships with the Kerry Group.
Commenting on the new appointment, Gerry Behan, president and CEO of taste and nutrition at the company, said: “Throughout his career, Oliver has demonstrated sustainable success in building and leading effective teams that fuel business growth for Kerry and for our customers. Oliver has also shown a clear passion for driving change and a personal commitment to promoting a more inclusive workplace within Kerry. I am looking forward to working with Oliver as we work towards creating a world of sustainable nutrition.”
“Being able to be entrepreneurial with customers. Kerry constantly changes, but in a strategic and customer-focused way, allowing for exponential career growth is one of the best parts about working at Kerry” states Oliver.
Kerry is the among the world’s leading taste and nutrition companies for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets. It employs over 22,000 people across the world, including a global research and development team of over 1,100 food scientists.
The company, which runs a €100 million innovation centre in Naas, Co. Kildare, has pledged to reach over two billion consumers with sustainable nutrition solutions by 2030.
TY students in Garbally College held a huge fundraising day for their chosen charities, the Simon Community and Ballinasloe Social Services recently before breaking up for their annual block week work experience.
The charity drive consisted of a pop-up barbershop, a soccer tournament, a car wash, and a pop-up sweet shop. To add to the festivities a Little Spoon Mobile Coffee Shop van was at the school Concert Hall to provide much-needed refreshments for the school community. In the spirit of the event, the company donated half their turnover from the day to the Simon Community.
The pop-up barbershop was managed and run successfully by a team of transition year students led by Michael Keary, Jack Flaherty, and Ben Feehily. They secured the services of current Leaving Cert student Ryan Fallon, past pupil Kyle Blackweir and two local barbers Declan Broderick and Conor Duane. The Barber Shop operated at full capacity from 9am until 3.30pm. The turnover for the day was €630
The soccer tournament was organised and managed by TY students Tadhg Mc Laverty, Kai Grennan Keighery, Darragh Costello, and Joshua Mc Laverty. They were amiably assisted by Enda Fournet, Conor Kelly, and Eanna Kelly in the smooth operation of this event between 1st year and 2nd year students. Overall, the tournament raised €265.
TY students and 5th year Evan Mc Morrow operated a professional and successful car wash on the school’s campus. Students got through a total of 30 cars on the day. The car wash raised €300.
The pop-up Sweet Shop was a welcome retreat for students during their lunch breaks. Students Eoin Grehan, Jack Finn, Keith Winters, and Luke O Connor operated the not-for-profit shop for the day.
When all the legal tender was counted at the end of a long day, €1587 was raised by the combined efforts of all three TY classes. TY Programme Coordinator Ms. Roisin Mc Sharry and Team Teachers Ms. Fiona Broderick and Mr. William Carr were very proud of their student’s achievement in raising such a large amount of money for their chosen charities. A cheque for €900 will be presented to the Simon Community and a cheque for €687 will be presented to Ballinasloe Social Services the coming weeks .
By John Dolan
I would have made a bet with anyone that the first of the lockdowns of March 2019 would have led to a reduction in house prices in the coming months and indeed years. Luckily nobody took me on with my bet!! The house prices went the complete opposite direction and instead of collapsing they have been increasing ever since. We can see this increase even more since the beginning of 2020. Especially in Ballinasloe and similar east Galway towns like Loughrea, Athenry and Tuam.
Bidding wars have been common all year round which is frustrating for the purchasers but a great result for sellers. And although the general media tend to sympathise with the buyers it has taken a long time for the people of Ballinasloe to see their house prices return to Celtic Tiger levels. Indeed in some cases they haven’t quite reached this level to date.
I recall selling one particular property in a lovely estate in Doire Beg, Derrymullan in around 2017/2018. It was one of my last good sales before the crash. This house was a 4 bed detached home in excellent decorative order and at that time the house made €310,000. So circumstances changed and the house was placed on the market in 2013.The house was more run down than when it was on the market in 2007. Guess what it sold for then? Only a mere €95,000!!. Yes Folks a whopping 69% of a drop!!! I knew these new buyers were getting a bargain and fair play to them as they purchased right at the bottom of the market.
So scroll forward to 2021 and John Dolan Auctioneers gets instructed on a house in Doire Beg, Derrymullan. We decided to put it on at an asking price of €225,000 which sounded like a fair price at the beginning of the year. However after an intensive bidding war between a number of parties the house sold for €280,000. A great price, however still not at the level we were at in 2007. So this level of increase is right across the board with both town and country properties which equates to approximately 20 to 25% for last year alone. This was reflected with sales in our other office in Galway city where properties in Knocknacarra, Doughiska and other towns like Athenry and Loughrea all experienced competitive bidding wars and a shortage of supply.
Rents on the other hand have surpassed their level of any Celtic tiger era. A good 4 bed semi detached in an area like Creagh now will rent for €1,200 per month which is difficult if you are a first time buyer couple trying to save for a deposit.
With no new houses being built locally for the last 10 to 11 years supply is still a big problem and will remain a problem for the next few years. AS well as that houses were seen as more affordable in Ballinasloe than the likes of Galway city which has also contributed to price increases locally. Added to the fact that a lot of people who can work remotely and maybe spend one day in the office in Dublin or elsewhere. We all know what the convenience of Ballinasloe with easy commutes to Dublin by road or by train. Not only that but when you look at the large Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, Shearwater Hotel, Great primary and secondary schools and an excellent hospital the town has a lot to offer and is holding its own amongst its neighboring Galway County towns
It's been a very successful year for sales at John Dolan Auctioneers but supply will remain the big challenge going forward for 2022.
For more information on this press release contact John Dolan Auctioneers in main Street, Ballinasloe or Gray Office Park Headford Road, Galway on 0868206690
Starved of the opportunities to have live rehearsals together and public performance opportunities being limited the Town Band were still able to spread some festive cheer over the holidays.
Having adhered to precautions by practicing online, the group were disappointed when outings were cancelled before Christmas. However, the band managed to rescue a few of their planned public recitals. They performed at the Aughrim Open Air Christmas Market, supporting the East Galway and Midland Cancer Support Centre. Attendees at the event were treated to a broad selection of seasonal music and renowned Film Themes.
The band under the baton of Noel Madden also managed to entertain shoppers and raise some seasonal cheer with traditional Christmas Carols, when they parked their reindeers at the Christmas tree in St Michaels Square.
Their next two public performances had a high degree of emotion and poignancy when they performed at the Tuam Babies Site for the third year in succession. They also played at the Bully’s Acre Memorial Park Event a new tree planting of remembrance for those bereaved during the Pandemic time.
Work on the band hall ( in the old Parochial Hall on Dunlo Hill ) is nearing completion after many Covid related delays. Carpets will be laid in the offices and in the kitchen annex soon. The main hall floor is also undergoing sanding and staining to return it to its pristine condition. It is also intended to paint the exterior walls in the near future , if funding can be arranged.
The band’s clothes collection fundraiser is also ongoing and has been extended until March. So, if you’re thinking of discarding some old clothes, shoes, bags, belts, etc. contact Martina on (087) 971 0496 to discuss drop-off or collection.
Further details on all the Band’s activites can be found on their http://www.ballinasloetownband.ie/
By Barry Lally
When Ballinasloe Urban District Council decided to rebrand Victoria Street in the 1940s they opted for Duggan Avenue, a name recalling a 19th-century Bishop of Clonfert noted for his support of the Land League, and who had been chosen as the first patron of the GAA, and honour he was obliged to forgo because of ill-health in favour of Archbishop Croke. However, a local sportsfield already bore Duggan’s name, and his association with the town was at best peripheral. His immediate predecessor, it could be argued, had a superior claim to be commemorated since he had spent his boyhood just around the corner in Dunlo Street and was the only Ballinasloe man ever to become a Roman Catholic bishop.
Reportedly a relative of Patrick Fallon, bishop of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora from 1852 to 1866, John Derry was born in the parish of Moore on19th June 1811 and brought up in his father’s public house opposite Bruton’s yard, which towards the end of the century became the site of the Presbytery. At the time, varying in quality, there were seven private schools in Ballinasloe. Young Derry attended the academy run by John O’Farrell, regarded as being at the top of the scale and charging fees of seven shillings per quarter. The school catered for both Catholic and Protestant pupils. Its curriculum included reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, Latin and Greek.
Bishop Thomas Coen, coadjutor to Bishop Costello, sent Derry at a comparatively early age to study for the priesthood at Maynooth, where he distinguished himself in philosophy, science, theology and scriptural studies. Ordained in 1834, he served for three years as second junior dean, a position he was obliged to relinquish as a result of his intemperate response to a student’s complaint about the quality of meat served at table in the college refectory.
Subsequently he was appointed parish priest of the united parishes of Ballymacward and Gurteen, and while there he became embroiled in the decades-long Clancarty estate schools controversy, about which I wrote at some length in a previous article. In 1844 he advised his parishioners to withdraw their children from the Earl’s school. His action prompted a riposte by Lord Clancarty in the form of a letter to the local schoolmaster: “I do not wish my tenants to be swayed by any other motive than their sense of duty to their children, and of the value of the education offered to them, in the course they may adopt in respect of the school. If, however, they prefer acting as advised or rather commanded by Mr. Derry to shake off all obligation to their landlord by paying him their lawful contract, I shall certainly regret the motive with which the advice is given and accepted, although in a pecuniary way I shall be the gainer, as I believe many to whom this advice was addressed have the accommodation of holding in hand the hanging gale of rent.”
Following Bishop Coen’s death on 27th April 1847 the diocesan clergy submitted the name of Dr. Robert ffrench Whitehead, a native of Creagh and vice-president of Maynooth College, as their preferred candidate to succeed Coen. Rome’s choice, however, was John Derry, who was consecrated as Bishop of Clonfert on 21st September 1847.
In 19th-century Ireland the influence of a Catholic prelate could prove so decisive in determining the outcome of an electoral contest that political aspirants often found it expedient to court the favour of the local bishop. Thus, when William Gregory of Coole, future husband of Lady Augusta Gregory of Abbey Theatre fame, planned a return to Parliament in 1852 he sought Derry’s endorsement. He received a chilling rebuff. “It would require indeed a very thorough renunciation of hereditary prejudices and a total renunciation of influential family ties to qualify Mr. Gregory as a candidate for the Catholic party,” remarked the Bishop, who went on to point out that not only was Gregory connected to the proselytizing Clancarty family but he was identified as the author of the infamous clause in the Poor Relief Act whereby the occupier of a quarter acre of land was required to surrender his holding to qualify his family for outdoor relief. Derry then went on to specify terms for Catholic electoral support which he must have known that Gregory could not meet.
By the time Gregory returned to face the electorate five years later he had at last won the respect of the Bishop who had found him both helpful in securing copies of proposed legislation and responsive in his concern for the spiritual welfare of Catholics. A peculiar grievance was the practice of raising children in the workhouse as members of the Church of Ireland whenever the religion of their parents had not been conclusively established. So, in March 1859, Gregory had introduced a bill to amend the Poor Relief (Ireland) Act seeking to restrict the discretionary power of the Poor Law Guardians to those cases where there was no clue to the parents’ religion. A child found with a rosary around its neck, for example, would be registered and educated as a Catholic. Derry expressed himself as thoroughly convinced of Gregory’s desire to act with the utmost fairness and handsomely acknowledged that he had misjudged him during the previous election. Moreover, he made known his wish to see him re-elected as a representative of County Galway.
Bishop Derry is probably best remembered for his church-building programme that included Ballinasloe’s St. Michael’s, an outstanding example of neo-Gothic architecture. He was instrumental in persuading Cardinal Wiseman, head of the English hierarchy, to preside at its consecration in 1858. Two years earlier Ballinasloe had become a mensal parish and the Chapter of Canons was abolished. Initially invited by the Bishop to establish themselves in Loughrea, the Mercy nuns set up a second convent in Ballinasloe in 1853. When they first came to town they occupied a building in Main Street opposite the Earl of Clancarty’s townhouse (now the Bank of Ireland). Over the following century the Sisters made a significant contribution to both primary and secondary education in the locality.
Though suffering from a serious heart ailment, Bishop Derry travelled to Rome to attend the First Vatican Council in November 1869. On his return he stopped over in Dublin to be treated by Sir Dominic Corrigan, an eminent cardiologist. His condition unfortunately did not improve and he died at his sister’s residence in Brideswell on 2nd July 1870.
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